The packaging for this printer is very compact—everything comes in an 18" x 16" x 7" box. The printer comes with a few additional accessories, including a scraper and a sample of filament. You can find a complete list of parts in the Quick Start Guide.
My package included:
- The Alfawise U30 Pro
- USB SD card reader
- Hex keys for assembly
- Zip ties
- Sample filament
The provided instructions are useful for checking parts, but the actual instruction portion leaves much to be desired. I ended up following an assembly video on YouTube for this one.
I previously reviewed the Alfawise U20, which arrived with most of the components pre-assembled. The U30 Pro isn't difficult to assemble, but the difference was notable.
The wires now have a plastic clip to label the X/Y/Z components making assembly a breeze. Previous Alfawise printers came with paper labels that easily fell off. This update was much appreciated!
The printer comes with the Y-axis belt assembled underneath the bed. Any adjustments to the tension will involve completely removing the bed. This is tedious and not very useful for fine-tuning print issues.
The X-axis belt has to be manually installed. Thankfully, there is a tensioner that can be adjusted with one of the hex keys.
Bed leveling is really easy on the U30 Pro. You'll find a leveling tool build into the touch screen UI. You can choose a specific corner to measure on command—much easier than Marlin interfaces that cycle through points on the bed in a specific order.
I had one issue while leveling the bed in which I couldn't raise the bed as high as I needed. This was solved by physically moving the Z-axis endstop switch.
Despite the useful leveling tool, the bed was seriously warped on both sides of the bed. It’s impossible to get a smooth bottom layer.
A big thank you to Osdoyi PhD for helping me through the assembly process! A few components are different between the U30 and U30 Pro, but you’ll find this video still covers 95% of the build process. The only major change is the touch screen which connects with a new pin connector.
Alfawise printers are notoriously sturdy. The frame is made of aluminum and coated with a red and black paint job. The printer is designed with the power supply and most of the electrical components attached to the bottom of the frame. I appreciate not having a separate box to make room for next to the printer.
The parts used are clean and well finished. I personally enjoy the color scheme and appreciate the design effort put into such a budget-friendly device.
The bed, however, was warped enough to cause an issue when printing—especially initial layers. The Y belt is connected to a bracket that arrived bent, I had to straighten the warp in the bracket with a set of pliers.
The Alfawise U30 Pro comes with the Y-axis system pre-assembled under the bed. You will need to put the X-axis and Z-axis components together. Assembly is straight forward but fine-tuning is critical for getting quality prints.
Alfawise includes a series of hex keys that can be used to adjust the tension of your belts and almost any screws on the motion system.
This printer doesn't take up much space at all—you'll need a 16" x 15" space on your desk. The height can vary depending on what filament you're using, but you'll generally need a least 2 feet of vertical space.
Even though most of the electrical components are housed under the printer, there’s still a decent amount of free space under the bed. I really like the design of the feet and how open the underside of the printer is.
The heated bed is made of glass with a textured material on one side. I found it difficult to remove my prints from the material and flipped it over with the glass side facing up. This drastically improved the bottom layer of my prints. Adhesion wasn't an issue and prints removed without a struggle. The bed temperature can be manually adjusted on the touch screen to override existing gcode settings.
The bed warped on both sides causing a big issue with initial layers when printing. No matter how level the corners are, the center of the bed is off by at least .5 mm.
The U30 Pro features a Bowden extrusion system attached to the X-axis. The touchscreen interface provides a few tools for sending commands to the extruder. You can easily load and even unload filament at the touch of a button.
This is one of the most exciting components of the U30 Pro. Forget knobs—this printer has a touchscreen interface. It's easy to get spoiled with an interface like this on a 3D printer.
The screen is pressure-sensitive, unlike most phone screens. The UI is much more intuitive compared to the U20. The tools provided are very useful and easy to access when you need them—move any of the axes, send commands to the extruder for filament changes, set temperatures, and even make flow rate adjustments.
The U30 Pro has a few safety features that help protect your prints. When a job is finished, the hotend is pulled away from the final print and all heated components are cooled. If no filament is detected, the print job is automatically paused. When new filament has been added, the print can be resumed. If you choose to cancel a print, the nozzle will be moved back to the home position instead of staying in place.
The build volume is 200mm x 200mm x 250mm—perfect for most of your at-home printing needs. This bed is on the larger side for a casual 3D printer. Given the value, I have no complaints about the bed size.
This printer supports common filament types, such as:
Your biggest limiting factor will be the nozzle temperature which can reach a maximum of 250°.
The print loading process is very familiar—gcode files are put onto a microSD card which is inserted into the card slot on the left side of the printer. All files available for printing can be accessed on the touchscreen under Files.
You can easily pause and resume prints on the Alfawise U30 Pro. If you're in the middle of a print job, press the pause button. Some conditions may cause the print to pause automatically—like missing filament.
Because of the warped bed, the initial layer will not print properly. Filament pools to one side while smearing across the other. Adjusting the belt tension can reduce banding and "stair step" issues in your final prints. However, I was unable to alleviate the Z-axis banding in my final prints.
I also ran into a minor extrusion issue, something other U30 users have encountered before. When the filament is extruding properly, the layers adhere nicely and look very smooth. Overall, the build of the U30 Pro is holding back the best possible quality.
Here's a closer look at the top of Benchy.
The Alfawise U30 Pro looks nice and doesn't take up much space. The paint job adds a nice sleek finish and I really appreciate the touchscreen interface. But this printer is struggling to keep up with the competition.
The warped bed makes it nearly impossible to get really fine quality prints. The end results are never precise, despite adjustments to the X and Y belts. And if your printer decides to extrude properly, you still encounter banding issues throughout the Z-axis. You may want to shop around before settling on the U30 Pro.